ATLANTA (Reuters) - Jamal Crawford banked in a three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to seal a 88-84 win for the Atlanta Hawks over the visiting Orlando Magic Friday.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers ambushed the New Orleans Hornets 100-86 on the road to join in the Hawks in taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven NBA playoff series.

The Boston Celtics mercilessly overpowered the New York Knicks 113-96 to ruin the excitement of the first playoff game at Madison Square Gardens in seven years.

In Atlanta, Crawford scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half including the game-clinching three in the dying seconds of a nip-and-tuck contest.

"I just tried to get to my comfort zone, my sweet spot," Crawford told reporters. "I felt pretty good getting there. "I thought I got a good look, and it just happened to go down for me."

Al Horford gave the Hawks the lead at 85-84 with 46.6 seconds left.

Atlanta led for much of the game, but the lead changed four times over the final two minutes following an altercation which led to the ejection of Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia and Orlando's Jason Richardson.

"I thought we played with much more energy in the second half, and that got us back into it," said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy. "But this is the playoffs and you can't play 24 minutes of defense."

Joe Johnson scored 21 points for Atlanta and Dwight Howard led the Magic with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

In New Orleans, the Lakers pounced on the Hornets in the opening quarter and pulled away in the final period to regain home-court advantage.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points and Pau Gasol recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Carl Landry led the Hornets with 23 points and Chris Paul 22.

In New York, the Celtics sprinted to a 22-5 lead eight minutes into the game and led comfortably from start to finish to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Boston will attempt to complete the sweep Sunday.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 38 points, Ray Allen hit eight three-pointers among his 32 points and Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and a Celtics franchise playoff record 20 assists.

The Knicks bench outscored the starters led by Shawne Williams 17 points. Carmelo Anthony scored 15 points on just 4-for-16 shooting from the field.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by Alastair Himmer)